Research Studies

three young women doing an experiment

Research Studies

Welcome to Research with East!

Please note the use of the word “with,” not “at” or “for”. Using “with” signals our deep commitment to research that is collaborative, participatory, and emancipatory. Building on recent calls for engaged scholarship in the academy, CUES promotes researching alongside the school communities, in pursuit of authentic and useful accounts of school change.

To this end, we believe the University of Rochester’s EPO partnership with East is an exciting opportunity to take what researchers know about education to a school that will benefit from it. In doing so, we conduct research, producing a collection of practitioner briefs, research articles, and conference presentations that support schools like East, located in urban districts, facing similar challenges and implementing innovative initiatives. We have not only conducted studies with East but also in other urban school locations; our findings support urban school transformation nationwide.

We are building a body of research about urban education transformation, organized in two large categories: Transformative Culture Research and Transformative School Culture Research and Transformative Teaching and Learning Research, to share freely and openly with anyone who is interested. Some publications will appeal to a research audience, others to a practitioner audience, and some to both. Check back periodically to see what new work is emerging!

East High mother standing in school hallway

Conducting Research at East

Researchers interested in working alongside East must submit an application to the East Research Committee.

Two graduates in cap and gown with parents

Transformative School Culture Research

Improving School Attendance

School-University Partnership

Reducing Bullying in School Communities

Reducing School Suspensions

  •  (Rob Snyder) a decision-making dissertation, is designed to support the continuous growth of the East Upper School by studying alternative methods for addressing students who are repeatedly assigned to In-School Suspension (ISS). (Dissertation)

Increasing Parent Engagement

  • (Shalonda Garfield) seeks to inform a decision for determining an alternative that support the continuous improvement of increasing parent engagement at East Lower School. (Dissertation)

Confronting Race, Racism and Privilege in Schools


  • Broken bridges: The role of brokers in connecting educational leaders around research evidence. (Finnigan, K.S., Daly, A. J., Caduff, A., & Leal, C. C., 2021). In M. Weber & I. Yanovitzky (Eds.), Networks, Knowledge Brokers, and the Public Policymaking Process (pp. 129-154). New York, NY: Palgrave- MacMillan.
  • The Question of Incorporating 6th Grade into Middle and High School Configurations. (Marsh, V.L., Larson, J.L, Kawakyu-O’Connor, N.K., Greenwich, J.C. (May, 2017).  CUES practitioner Brief.
  • Promoting a Culture of Resilience at East: A Multimodal Approach (Susan Yussman) explores how a school-based, multi-component intervention improve student outcomes in the domains of nutrition, mental health and sexual health. (Dissertation).
  • Title 1 Study (American Institutes for Research) provides a detailed analysis of the types of strategies and activities implemented in Title I schoolwide program (SWP) and targeted assistance program (TAP) schools, how different configurations of resources are used to support these strategies, and how local officials make decisions about the use of these varied resources
  • Assessing the Feasibility of Implementing the Center for Human Athleticism Musculoskeletal Performance and Prevention (CHAMPP) Intervention on East High School Adolescent Athletes (Calvin L. Cole, PhD Department of Orthopaedics, Center for Musculoskeletal Research) assesses the feasibility of enrolling and studying adolescent athletes from East High School into a program that will provide injury and academic performance monitoring, athletic performance training (for injury prevention), and academic assistance.
East teachers and board members welcoming students on the first day of schooll

Transformative Teaching and Learning Research


  • UR East High: Transforming an urban high school through a unique University partnership (Joanne Larson and colleagues) uses ethnography to explore how this partnership impacts culture. This research was initially supported by a research grant from the Spencer Foundation.
  • READ 180 Universal East High School Efficacy Study (Consortium for Policy Research Education) investigates the link between enrollment in READ 180 Universal and student reading performance at East High School, Rochester, NY.
  • Identity Negotiation and Development Through Creative Writing at East (Eleni Duret) explores how high school students engage creatively with their own identity and then communicate such engagement through creative writing. (Dissertation)
  • Powerful Literacies in a High School Journalism Class (Valerie Marsh, Jayne Lammers, Elizabeth Conroy) explores how best to support English teachers in amplifying youth voices in historically marginalized student populations via powerful literacies.
  • YPAR: Exploring New Literacies and Critical Literacy Pedagogy in a Virtual Teaching and Learning Environment (Alexa E. Basile) illuminates a particular kind of school-embedded Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) project that adds to the collective understanding of what facilitates and challenges YPAR work in urban school settings.


  • Creating a Model for Sustainable Ambitious Mathematics Programs in High Needs Settings: A Researcher-Practitioner Collaboration (Jeff Choppin, William Zahner, Cindy Callard, Shaun Nelms). This study is a collaboration between researchers, professional development leaders, teachers, coaches, administrators, and students to: (1) understand the demands created throughout all stakeholder groups when implementing an ambitious secondary mathematics program in high-need contexts; (2) identify the resources and organizational dynamics necessary to address the demand and thus sustain the program; and (3) articulate a model of sustainable ambitious reform that has validity across multiple stakeholders within and across implementation contexts.
    • Zahner, W., Green, C., Tenney, K., Pelaez, K., Choppin, J., & Al, S. (2021). What is ambitious mathematics teaching? A literature synthesis. Forty-third annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education Philadelphia, PA.
    • Choppin, J., & Merliss, G. (2022). Exploring the impact of COVID on an ambitious mathematics program in a high poverty context. Paper presented at the 2022 American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.

English Language Learners

  • ELL Learning (Lia Festenstein) attempted to determine whether or not the Support Room model assisted English Language Learners (ELLs) in attaining core credits or improved their Regents exam pass rates in the 2016 June Regents administration. (Dissertation)
  • Educating English Language Learners (ELLs) (Valerie L. Marsh and colleagues). This brief pieces apart the challenges, history, theory, research, and instructional best practices in ELLs education through a review of literature. A resource guide for researchers and practitioners is included.

Social Studies

  • Ethical and Cultural Commitments in Adolescents’ Political Thinking: A Design Study (Kevin Meuwissen) serves two core purposes:
    • to generate and utilize new tools and methods for investigating ethical and cultural commitments that underlie adolescents’ political thinking relative to public policy problems; and
    • to draw from that investigation’s outcomes to develop, implement, and study the results of a secondary-level curricular and instructional intervention designed to promote political discourse where students’ policy positions and their ethical and cultural underpinnings are explicitly linked.


  • Veteran Urban Science Teacher Identity in the Midst of University Governance: A Case Study (Michael Occhino) explores teacher identity development. (Dissertation)


  • The Relations of Perceived Autonomy-supportive Physical Education Teaching to Students’ Motivation, Performance, and Skill Learning (Edward Deci)  examines the relations of interpersonal teaching styles to the promotion of students’ engagement, motor learning, and performance in physical education (PE) classes.
  • Assessing the Feasibility of Implementing the Center for Human Athleticism Musculoskeletal Performance and Prevention (CHAMPP) Intervention on East High School Adolescent Athletes (Calvin Cole and colleagues) assesses the feasibility of enrolling and studying adolescent athletes from East High School into a program that will provide injury and academic performance monitoring, athletic performance training (for injury prevention), and academic assistance.